Government Consultation on the Feed in Tariff & early notification of BWCE share offer

What chance for new community energy projects in the future?

As you may know the government has launched a consultation on the Feed in Tariff, the main mechanism for supporting small to medium scale renewable energy projects in the UK. The proposal is that from January next year, there will be a major cut of up to 87% in the tariff. As you can imagine, this will have a devastating affect on the industry and in particular on our community energy sector.
It is important to note it will not affect our existing projects or those that have already been registered, but it will drastically affect the potential to realise new projects.

The consultation on the proposals can be found here and closes at 11.45pm on the 23rd October. A good summary has been put together by Regen SW and can be found here.

We know the government is getting a lot of responses from the community energy sector and we will be adding BWCE’s voice to this. We hope that you will add yours too. 

In summary, BWCE will be saying that:
1. Community energy is capable of delivering a wide range of additional benefits beyond renewable energy capacity, not least the re-investment of profits back into local communities ensuring that local communities benefit significantly.
2. Even though community energy is rapidly growing, it is particularly vulnerable to such heavy cuts as it has less access to commercial and institutional finance than its commercial counterparts.
3. Within the next few years as the community energy sector matures, communities may posssibly be able to compensate for the loss of the Feed in Tariff through the development of creative financial instruments, perhaps via the Green Investment Bank, or through local supply offers that enable them to secure greater value for their generating assets. But in the meantime they still need support of the FiT.
4. Some renewable energy technologies like solar PV could well reach grid parity within the next 3-4 years, the point at which time renewable energy will no longer need subsidy to compete with conventional energy generation. However the drastic cuts to the Feed in Tariff are too much, too quickly. The harm they are likely to do to the sector will set back the move to grid parity, rather than bring it closer.
5  In the short term, without the Feed in Tariff, it is probable that the community energy sector will wither before it is ready to stand on its own – without subsidy.

In addition we will also press hard for the re-instatement of pre-accreditation which was removed on 1 October. This is the process by which projects can secure their Feed in Tariff level at the point they have planning and a grid connection offer, rather when they commission. Without pre-accreditation it is impossible to model financially whether a project is viable or not. In consequence little can get built with any degree of comfort for potential investors.

What can you do?
You can add your voice to the tens of thousands of others who are responding to this threat to our industry by:
1. Getting involved in the online campaign run by 10:10. Their ‘Keep Fits’ campaign can be found here. Responding to their simple questions provides an easy way of making your voice heard within the context of the consultation.
2. Signing the online petition started by 38 degrees here.
3. Most importantly get in touch with your MP. Ask them whether they are concerned about the prospect of undermining the community energy sector in this way, if you are already a member of a community energy organisation, tell them why you think community energy is a good thing and what motivated you to get involved. Ask your MP to write to the Secretary of State, Amber Rudd, to voice their concern about the impact on community energy and their communities.

A number of MPs, including some Conservatives have voiced their concerns, it is important to encourage more to speak out. We have lobbied our local MPs as have many others in the South West and across the country.

So while stocks last…. 
In the first half of November we will be launching our last share offer to fund projects that have already secured the current Feed in Tariff and so are not vulnerable to the proposed cuts. So, keep looking out for your BWCE newsletter for more news and email us on [email protected] if you are interested in investing. Please forward this newsletter to friends, colleagues and neighbours so they can get involved – while they still can!

Regards

Pete Capener
Chair
Bath & West Community Energy
E: [email protected]
T: 07775781331

Interest payments and EIS certificates

9 October 2015

Interest Payments
An interest payment of 7% per annum was declared at the last AGM for the fourth year in succession. Members should have received by now an email confirming the amount of interest they will receive for their shareholdings up until 31 March 2015. There will have been an email that pertains to each one of their shareholdings. So for example if you hold three share certificates you will have received three emails. If for any reason you haven’t received the emails please contact Peter Andrews as soon as is convenient. The actual payments will be made, by bank transfer, over the next few days. Please note investors in the Wilmington Solar Array will be receiving interest pro rata, dated from the date on their share certificates.

 Enterprise Investment Scheme ( EIS) 3 certificates
The blank EIS 3 certificates have now been received and will be filled in (by hand unfortunately) and sent out to you as soon as possible. For those of you who don’t know how to claim your tax rebate our financial director David Bunker has written these instructions.

How to Claim EIS Relief

HMRC have now authorised the tax submissions made by BWCE so now we can distribute to all qualifying investors a Form EIS 3 which sets out the amount invested and states that the investment is eligible for tax relief.

For Investors who Normally Complete a Tax Return Form

You need to claim the relief on your Tax Return form by completing the Additional Information Section. In Box No 2 on Page 2 you need to enter the total value of the investment upon which you are claiming relief. In the large box on Page 4 of the Additional Information Section you need to provide details of the name of the company invested in , the amount invested, the date of issue of the shares and the name and reference number of the HMRC office issuing the tax certificate. All this information can be found on the EIS certificate we will issue.

You do not need to complete pages 3 and 4 of the EIS certificate. You do not need to send the EIS Certificate to HMRC but you do need to retain it in a safe place. HMRC may request to see the certificate as evidence in support of your claim.

The tax relief will normally be allowed in the year in which the shares were issued to you. If you wish to claim relief against the previous tax year you can either amend the Tax Return previously submitted for the earlier year, or fill out Page 3and 4 as detailed below and send it to your HMRC office.

For Investors who do not Normally Complete a Tax Return Form

If you are employed under PAYE or retired and do not normally complete a Tax Return form, the procedure for claiming relief against tax deducted from you is slightly different. You need to complete the blank sections on Pages 3 and 4 of the EIS Certificate. The details you need about the date of issue and the HMRC office reference number can be found on Page 1 of the certificate.

Detach Pages 3 and 4 of the EIS certificate and send it to the HMRC office that deals with your tax deductions. If you are employed or have a pension from a former employer you will be able to find details of the HMRC office dealing with your affairs from your employer. If you cannot find this information you will need to telephone HMRC on 0300 2003300.

The tax relief will normally be allowed the year in which the shares were issued to you. There is a space on Page 3 of the form to specify if you wish to claim the relief against the preceding tax year.